One of the questions that any tech entrepreneur will ask himself is how much does it cost to build an MVP? The price is an extremely important piece of information as it will help you to make strategic decisions on how you will finance its development.
If you don’t know what an MVP is, make sure to read this article that will tell you what to include in an MVP.
First of all, don’t expect to find a precise price here as it is highly variable from one project to another. Here’s one thing to keep in mind though. The freelancer that you hire will one way or another charge you by the hour, whether you go with a time and materials contract or a fixed price contract.
Time and materials contract
With time and materials contract, the freelancer will take the time necessary to build an MVP, the end result is not guaranteed and going fast will not be his priority.
Fixed price contract
With a fixed price contract, the freelancer will give you a quote for the package, the result is “guaranteed” as he’s supposed to sell the product and not the time that he spends on building the MVP. They will most likely 2x the estimate time in order to make up for the time that you will be losing on back and forths with the misunderstanding, visual tweaks, bug fixes and whatnot. Going fast will be his priority as it’s his only way to be more profitable.
You see, depending on the model of contracts, there could be a price gap already.
The first thing to do before you ask for a quote, is to prepare your specs document. If you don’t know how to write it, make sure to read this article.
Don’t go to a developer and ask him “I want to build something like Facebook, how much does it cost?”. First, nobody would take you seriously and second, nobody knows how much it would cost because Facebook has thousands of features, what do you exactly want?
What you need to do is rather write a very simple specifications document that will make your project appear to be simple, even in the eyes of a developer. This way, he will be less likely to overestimate the complexity.
Do not overload your document with complicated schemas. Do not use over complicated words either. The idea is to stay as clear and simple as possible. You would want to write simple and clear short sentences, provide simple and clear schemas when you think it’s necessary.
The next aspect to take into consideration is the choice of technical stacks.
When you look for a developer, you only have your MVP in mind, you know how you want it to be, but you probably don’t know how it will be built. Each freelancer has his own preferred technical choices, but not all choices are equal in terms of pricing.
Let’s take the case of building an mobile phone App where there are several popular technical choices to choose from.
Your requirements are that you want your App to be on both App Store and Play Store so you will start looking for a developer who knows how to develop for both platforms.
The first developer would then propose the following offer:
- Mobile App on iOS coded with Swift for $5,000
- Mobile App on Android coded with JAVA for $4,000
The second developer would offer this:
- Mobile App on both iOS/Android coded with React Native for $5,000
The third one:
- Mobile App on both iOS/Android coded with Ionic Framework for $3,000
Each offer has obviously its pros and cons and you have to know them in order to make the right decision. How important is it to have a Native App? Or is it viable enough to have a Hybrid App for an MVP?
In the end, it is still hard to know the exact price of an MVP as it is hard to know what’s inside your MVP. You can expect to spend an amount between $8,000 USD and $30,000 USD. There are many ways to lessen the overall cost of an MVP and still have the same, if not a better result. One of the keys is to know how to pick the right technical choices and how to talk to the developer in an efficient way.